In quintessentially Australian news, a man taking a dip in Far North Queensland’s ironically named Lake Placid literally saved his own life by yanking a very real crocodile off his actual skull.
Aussies are a tough bunch. We deal with all sorts of weird and wild flora and fauna to the point where nothing really phases us anymore (with the one exception of a certain black and white bird). If a Great White is after us while surfing, we’ll punch it in the face. If a dingo is eating a shark, we have a laugh and carry on with our day.
And if a crocodile clamps its jaws on your head hoping for a tasty morning snack? You prise that bugger off with your bare hands, which is precisely what a 44-year-old man did just outside Cairns around lunchtime yesterday.
The man was swimming in Lake Placid before he felt a “sudden impact” clasp around the top of his head, realising it was a crocodile, reports The Guardian.
“He put his hands into the jaws to prise them off his head, and when he did so and let go the jaws snapped shut onto his left forefinger,” critical care paramedic, Paul Sweeney said.
Miraculously, he suffered minor puncture wounds to his scalp, the side of his face, shoulder and finger. No fractures or punctures to the skull itself. Sweeney said he was lucky the injuries weren’t significantly worse, which is, well, an understatement.
After he’d managed to get the crocodile’s jaws off his head, the man then took a lengthy, “slow swim” back to shore to get help. There was every possibility that the crocodile could’ve gone for round two as he made that swim, but by some twist of fate, it didn’t bother.
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Once paramedics were on the scene to assess the damage, they found that the man’s vital signs were good and there was minimal blood loss. He was transported to Cairns hospital in a stable condition.
Had the croc taken a bite at his neck or throat, this would’ve been a very different story, as there are major blood vessels in that area. The skull, by comparison, is pretty tough.
The man was described as “remarkably calm” as well as a fit individual who was training in the lake at the time. And he plans to get back in the water ASAP.
“He’s quite a robust individual who insisted that he’d be back swimming there soon, so he’s a braver man than I,” Sweeney said.
A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science (DES) said it was investigating the incident. They’ll conduct a site assessment of Lake Placid and seek further information about the attack to assist with the removal of the animal.
“All crocodiles that pose a threat to human safety are targeted for removal under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan,” the spokesman said.
Wet season is breeding time for crocodiles and they’re known to become more aggressive or territorial. Lake Placid is also a known crocodile habitat – so maybe that swimmer was more foolish than brave.
Keen for those Queensland border closures to lift, hey.
(Lead image: David Clode / Unsplash)